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How To Choose The Best Siding For Your Home

by Howard Barnett

If it's time to replace the siding on your old home, you should talk to a siding contractor about all the options available today. If you have a big budget or don't mind materials that need a lot of maintenance, you may want to choose wood, brick, or stone siding. However, if you're like a lot of people and want siding you can install and forget about except for occasional repairs and cleaning, you'll probably choose between aluminum, vinyl, or fiber cement. Here's some help choosing between these three materials.    

Durability

Aluminum, vinyl, and fiber cement are all resistant to damage from rotting, insects, and rodents. Aluminum is fire resistant too, however, aluminum is easy to dent. If you have a basketball hoop against your house or dogs and kids that play hard in the yard, then you may get some dented panels occasionally. The panels can be individually replaced, but if the color has faded, the new panel may not be an exact match.

Vinyl siding has the potential to crack in very cold temperatures. It could also potentially warp in very hot temperatures. The vinyl panels are usually a light color so they reflect the sun rather than absorb heat because this increases the risk of warping. Vinyl also melts if it is in contact with a flame so you need to keep your grill away from the house. However, vinyl is quite suitable for moderate climates. It resists denting, and since the color is uniform throughout the panel rather than being painted on, scratches are nearly invisible.

Fiber cement is a mixture of cement and wood fiber. This gives it the appearance of wood, but it doesn't have any of the disadvantages of wood. It is insect and rot resistant. It is also resistant to moisture and fire. It doesn't warp, dent, or crack.

Maintenance

While fiber cement is very resistant to damage, it does need to be painted or stained. That means you will have to paint the siding every few years or the paint will start to peel and become an eyesore. Aluminum and vinyl don't need to be painted, however, you'll need to wash the siding occasionally to keep it clean.

Aluminum siding may develop a chalky coating that needs to be washed off. Pollution and grime will build up and cause light colored siding to look dirty. Washing the exterior of your house with a pressure washer or hose and soapy water should keep it in good shape when the siding is made from vinyl or aluminum. That's a lot less maintenance than you would have to do for wood that warps and rots, or fiber cement that needs to be painted.

Appearance

One benefit of vinyl siding is that it comes in a lot of different colors such as pink, yellow, and light green. If you want an artsy cottage look, then choosing pastel colored siding might be ideal. If you want dark siding, then aluminum might be the best choice since it is available in a number of colors too, including darker shades. If you like the traditional appearance of wood siding, then fiberboard is the best choice since it looks just like wood.

The great thing about all these siding materials is they all look great without needing a lot of care. To choose which one is best for your home, consider your climate, environment, and lifestyle along with your preferences on appearance. If you enjoy painting and want to change colors every few years, then fiber cement is probably ideal. If you want siding you can neglect, then vinyl may be the best way to go.

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